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Reviews Naked Heart: Talking on Poetry, Mysticism, & the Erotic. By William Everson. (Albuquerque, New Mexico: An American Poetry Book, 1992. 262 pages, $19.95.) This compilation of interviews does indeed possess the virtue William Everson ascribes to interviews: It has a certain immediacy. “Compared to it [an interview] the essay emerges as formalistic and even stilted, dismissed as dry unless it also happens to be very good. An essay has to have style; not so the interview.”Everson contends “the most pervasive literary form of immediacy is, after poetry itself, the interview.”Whether one agrees with the generalization or not, one cannot miss the candor and the immediacy that erupt on the pages of Naked Heart. I was a religious poet before I was a Catholic. Modernism is a European derivative—elitist, skeptical, ironic, arcane. It’s the antithesis of all the American singularities come down to us through Whitman and the Emersonian tradition. In college you learn more from your peers than you do from your teachers. [T]he breath, as a matter offact, has nothing to do with the way poetry iswritten, and very little to do with the wayit isread. . . .Poetry is of the mind: it is produced by inspiration, not respiration—a cheap shot, you may say, but suggestive. The interviews begin in 1960 and continue through 1989. Everson begins as Brother Antoninus and ends as Bill. The colloquy begins by considering why an artist wouldjoin a religious community and it concludes by raising questions about the role of religion in relation to the environmental concerns that preoccupy us all now. One can very nearly track the struggle of the culture as one tracks William Everson through these essays. 336 Western American Literature In TheAchievement ofBrotherAntoninus (1967) William Stafford remarks on the secular Everson and the monastic Antoninus: “Between these two selves, or aspects of one self, there hums a line of poems held closely along a sustained documentary sequence, portraying, overall, the slow turning of a character under duress.” He calls the secular Bill “the aggressively secular anarchist rebel,” and Antoninus becomes “the intense, religious, wholly committed per­ sona of Brother Antoninus.” Despite the tension between these two personali­ ties, Stafford concludes that “Racked out in the spread of poetry. . .”Everson is “one of the most notable, extreme,jagged figures of modern American poetry.” As one listens to William Everson talking in these interviews one encoun­ ters a gifted, erudite, loquacious critic of the Christian faith, of contemporary poetry and the American culture. This is a book that records the shifts of mind and heart of one whose engagement with the culture has been headlong. Here is a restless spirit, unlikely ever to settle down, always ready to battle his way toward the truth. GARYH. HOLTHAUS Center oftheAmerican West; Boulder, Colorado Frank Waters: Man and Mystic. Edited by Vine Deloria, Jr. (Athens: Swallow Press/Ohio University Press, 1993. 249 pages, $29.95/$15.95.) A recent New Mexico Magazine article highlights the state’s literary tradition beginning with writers who visited or settled there in the 1910s and 1920s (Austin, Luhan, La Farge, Cather, Lawrence) and continuing into a second generation, including Anaya, Hillerman, Evans, and Frank Waters. Waters? The nonagenarian who continues to publish spans both generations. Yet the imme­ diacy and relevance of Waters’writing make the magazine’s error understand­ able. It is sometimes startling to realize that TheMan WhoKilled theDeerhas been in circulation for over fifty years. Despite such proven ability of his works to stand the test of time, Waters has never received the extensive critical recogni­ tion that is his due. Martin Bucco’s useful pamphlet in the Southwest Writers Series (1969) and Tom Lyon’s fine Frank Waters (1973) provided his earliest academic and critical recognition. More recently, the Frank Waters Society has issued a yearly Studies in Frank Waters. Terence Tanner’s bibliography, Charles Adams’ anthology, and Alexander Blackburn’s A Sunrise Brighter Still have also advanced the cause for Waters’literary significance. Vine Deloria Jr.’s Frank Waters: Man and Mystic assists this effort through twenty-one diverse contributions. In the first section, “The Memories,” con­ tributors such as William Eastlake, Max Evans, and Rudolfo Anaya present...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
pp. 335-336
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-04
Open Access
No
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